By Paul J. Balles
Paul J. Balles shows how the US media’s application of Joseph Goebbels’s dictum – that a lie, if audacious enough and repeated enough times, will be believed by the masses – has produced a plethora of anti-Arab bigots, from the likes of Steve Emerson, Alan Dershowitz, Caroline Glick and Ruth Conniff to the racist ranting of brainless lumpen on the internet.
More insidious than the wars with tanks and guns, aircraft and bombs, missiles and guidance systems, shock and awe campaigns. The wickedest wars are the wars for people’s minds – the propaganda campaigns that exercise thought control.
“Get control over radio, press, cinema and theatre,” said Joseph Goebbels, Adolf Hitler’s propaganda minister. He perfected an understanding of the “Big Lie” technique of propaganda based on the principle that a lie, if audacious enough and repeated enough times, will be believed by the masses.
Western brainwashing comes from the media. Readers, listeners and viewers need to be aware of these propaganda sources. About the media in general, Steven Salaita correctly observed:
The flippancy with which US media apply the word “terrorism” to Arab populations reinforces the notion that violence in the Arab world is ahistorical and therefore senseless. Arabs in turn become a people without narratives who belong to a culture incapable of rationality.
Steve Emerson has a website and blog with as much anti-Arab ranting on it as any bigot might produce. Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz has implied that all Arabs are potential terrorists and therefore worthy of slaughter. American Israeli Caroline Glick, Deputy Managing Editor of The Jerusalem Post, writes two weekly syndicated columns preaching hard-line Israeli propaganda.
In The Progressive, Ruth Conniff validated the false but widespread notion that while violence exists among both Arabs and Israelis, terrorism is exclusive to the Arabs. When Arabs fight against Israelis, the Arabs are guilty of “terrorist violence” but the Israelis are engaging in “military reprisals”.
On anti-Arab radio you hear things like “Arabs love dictators” and “Obama is an Arab,” as if being an Arab disqualifies one from humanity. If they aren’t referring to Arabs as “camel jockeys” or “rag heads”, they’re calling them as Islamo-fascists. Along with O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs and Glenn Beck give Fox news stable of anti-Arab propagandists.
Hollywood films have been vilifying Arabs for decades. Jack Shaheen revealed, in The TV Arab, how television stereotypes Arabs as “billionaires, bombers and belly dancers”.
Even as a youngster, Shaheen was disturbed by the Arab stereotypes in children’s cartoon characters.
In Shaheen’s Reel Bad Arabs, a long line of degrading images – from Bedouin bandits and submissive maidens to sinister sheikhs and gun-wielding “terrorists” – have vilified Arabs since the days of silent films.
In his research, Shaheen identified more than 1150 films that defile Arabs. His newest book, Guilty: Hollywood’s Verdict on Arabs after 9/11, reveals how the film industry continues to shape American understanding of Arabs and Arab culture.
Muslim scholar Ziauddin Sardar made it clear that anti-Islamic brainwashing is not new: “From the days of Voltaire right up to 1980, thanks largely to the efforts of Enlightenment scholars, it was a general Western axiom that Islam had produced nothing of worth in philosophy, science and learning.”
That the propaganda has reached the masses should be clear from some of the slurs on the internet, examples of which are displayed here:
F**K ALL YOU SAND NIGGERS! I HOPE WE BLOW YOU ALL UP AND TAKE THE ONLY THING YOU ARE GOOD FOR OIL!
It wasn’t enough to curse Arabs. He had to shout it, writing his message in uppercase letters, revealing how effective anti-Arab propaganda has been in America.
Those who control the media control the mental attitudes of the population; Americans have been programmed to hate Arabs and Muslims and to love Israelis. How could compassionate Americans be nonchalant about their slaughter of a million Arabs in Iraq, even though they know that it was all based on lies? Decades of propaganda and brainwashing.
Paul J. Balles is a retired American university professor and freelance writer who has lived in the Middle East for many years. For more information, see http://www.pballes.com.